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WFP warns of food crisis in South Sudan

ROME, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Crop failures and market disruptions brought on by conflict in the region are reasons to worry about "a gathering storm of hunger" for South Sudan, WFP said.

Humanitarian aid agencies in the region said thousands of refugees were fleeing violence from Sudan. Parts of the region this year coped with one of the worst droughts on record but now erratic rains are adding to the problem.

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WFP warned border closures between South Sudan and Sudan are disrupting food deliveries, causing prices in the region to escalate.

"A gathering storm of hunger is approaching South Sudan, caused by crop failure and market disruption," WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi said in a statement.

"Food prices have already doubled or tripled in some areas, leaving hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to malnutrition at a key developmental stage of their young lives."

The relief agency said it needed roughly $92 million in order to address the growing needs of the people of South Sudan for the first four months of 2012. It said it was working to provide relief to the estimated 2.7 million people affected by conflict and hunger in the region for next year.

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